The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Just Opened Week of April 14

 We continue our after-the-news-at-noon series of "Just Opened" new solo piano releases.

Teresa Dybvig, piano
Yale Music School
Available online & through her website
Teresa Dybvig's Official Website
Simone Dinnerstein, piano
SONY 300 910 2
ISBN# 8 8843-00910-2 3
Simone Dinnerstein's Official Website
Orion Weiss, piano
ISBN# 0 90404 93552 7
Orion Weiss's Official Website
Mikhail Pletnev, piano
D.G. 4284
ISBN#0 28947 75378 0
More on Mikhail Pletnev
Ian Barton Stewart, piano
IBS 2013
ISBN# 8 87516 20085 4
Ian Barton Stewart's Official Website
Andrew Rangell, piano
ISBN# 0 90404 91802 5
More Information on Andrew Rangell

Thanks again to our practicum, Jennifer Reeves, for pulling together this information.
Kara Dahl Russell

Just Opened: Week of April 7, 2014

Inna Faliks, piano
MSR 1446
ISBN# 6 81585 14462 6
Inna Falik's Official Website
Jeremy Denk, piano
AZIKA 71262
ISBN# 7 8786-71262-2 6
Jeremy Denk's Official Website

Eight American Composers Plus One Pianist
Becky Billock, piano
MusesNine 32207
ISBN# 7 00261 32207 0
Becky Billiock's Official Website

Ricardo Penalaver, piano
Tempus 10049
ISBN# 7 502244 100490
Ricardo Penalver's Official Website

Gershwin Copland Bernstein
Aglika Genova, piano
Liuben Dimitrov, piano
CPO 777 039-2
ISBN# 7 61203 70392 0
 Dimitrov Duo's Official Website

Sonata in B Minor 24 Preludes
Ann Schein, piano
MSR 1119
ISBN# 6 81585 1119 2 5
Ann Schein's Official Website

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Just Opened: Week of April 1

No, it's not an April Fools joke!  This month we're using a different format for our Just Opened New Releases.  Because we have so many solo piano releases, we're featuring them after-the-news-at-noon as "A Pleasure of Pianos."   Solo piano releases are so plentiful that we could actually continue this noon series for at least 3 months... but we'll start with one and then share the others in different formats.   Meanwhile, the Friday afternoon hours this month will be a continuation of our usual weekday melange of great works from our library.  Enjoy this pleasure of pianos this April.

Book II Johann Sebastian Bach
David Korevaar, piano
MSR 1021
ISBN# 6 81583 10212 1
David Korevaar's Official Website
Andrew Rangell, piano
ISBN# 0 90404 92052 3
More info on Andrew Rangell
Piano Sonatas and Sonatinas 3
Susan Kagan, Piano
NAXOS 572204
ISBN# 7 47313 22047 2
Susan Kagan's Official Website
My Delight of the Week!  
All of the featured pianists this month are superlative.  This is the 2nd CD from this series that we have featured this month, and I am especially enjoying getting to know the work of Ries, this over-looked contemporary (and friend) of Beethoven.  This period bridging the Classical and Romantic periods is melodically rich.

Romantic Transcriptions for Piano
Jue Wang, piano
MSR 1404
ISBN# 6 81585 14042 0
Jue Wang's Official Website

Volume 2
James Brawn, piano
MSR 1466
ISBN# 6 81585 14662 0
James Brawn's Official Website

Thanks to SU practicum Jennifer Reeves for pulling together the pix and info. on these releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, March 28, 2014

Just Opened March 28, 2014

Piano Sonatas ans Sonatinas 5
Susan Kagan, piano
NAXOS 572300
ISBN# 7 47313 23007 5
Susan Kagan's Official Website
My Delight of the Week.  Rarely heard piano works from Ries, a close friend of Beethoven whom Schubert praised for his "remarkable originality."  One listen will have pianists looking for his music....  "Unfairly neglected yet often substantial works" by a composer who worked and played alongside the greats.

Angele Dubeau, violin
and La Pieta
ISBN# 7 74204 87372 1
Angele Dubeau's Official Website
A perfect release to close out women's history month.  La Pieta is a renowned all female ensemble, led by the gifted violinist Angele Dubeau.  This group has crossed over all boundaries, from medieval music to video game music, always with musical excellence.  The arrangements here, as usual, are musically astute, a complexity that creates the sound of a much larger ensemble, but with an uncluttered simplicity that cuts to the heart.  Mostly modern works that Dubeau hones to total accessibility.  The particular slant of this "package" is new-age, with the goal being a CD of serenity that speaks deeply.  A sure-fire crossover success.

Paul Fried, flute
Bryan Pezzone, piano
ISBN# 8 88174 02347 2
Paul Fried's official site
Major works for flute and piano played by this duo of impressive artists.  We aired the exquisite Sonata Undine by Reinecke, and this CD also incluldes Schubert's Introduction and variations and Prokofiev's Sonata in D.  Fried was a child prodigy by any standard, has held a seat with the Boston Symphony, and now living in California, has played on over 200 film scores, working with the great composers of our day.  Pezzone is also regularly heard on film and tv soundtracks in addition to an extensive performance schedule as orchestral soloist, chamber musician, composer and jazz pianist.  He is Principal Pianist in the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.

Gwendolyn Toth, organ
Jessica Tranzillo, chant
ZR 103
ISBN# 7 00702 80082 2
More Information on Gwendolyn Toth
Toth appeared here on the Delmarva Penninsula recently.  Here she focuses on the work of this contemporary of JSBach.  Very traditional organ music here, with the addition of vocals on some works, which makes for an interesting mix.

NOS. 12 & 13
Karin Kei Nagano, piano
Cecilia String Quartet
ISBN# 7 74204 87652 4
More Information on Karin Kei Nagano
If you want to catch a phenomenal young performer at the beginning of the career - to follow along, here she is.  16 year old Karin Kei Nagano has all ready won multiple international piano competitions, has been featured soloist with the Montreal Orchestra Symphonique, and has toured Munich and Bavaria.  This "simple" release features 2 Mozart piano concertos accompanied with string quartet.  It is very easy to imagine that this is exactly how Mozart heard his own work on a regular basis.  A marvel.

Thanks again to our SU practicum Jennifer Reeves for putting together the photos and CD information for today's blog.  In April, we'll be doing something new with Just Opened.  Friday afternoons we will just program our usual mix of music from our library.  We will feature our new releases in April as a noon series, "A Pleasure of Pianos."  A laser focus on piano releases for April, at noon each weekday, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, March 21, 2014

Just Opened - March 21, 2014

EIGHT PIECES Miller-Porfiris Duo
Anton Miller, violin
Rita Porfiris, viola
David Westfall, piano
ISBN# 7 00261 38975
The Miller-Pofiris Duo's Official Website
Piano Music of Argentina, Vol. 2
Mirian Conti, piano
Steinway & Sons 30023
ISNB# 0 34062 30023 5
Mirian Conti's Official Website
My Delight of the Week!   Mirian Conti infuses her precise playing with joy and flair. She is currently on the evening faculty at Juliard, and her playing has been hailed in a wide variety of music publications and reviews.

Complete String Quartets Vol. II
Quartetto Di Cermona
Cristiano Gualco, violin
Paolo Andreoli, violin
Simone Gramaglia, viola
Giovanni Scaglione, cello
Audite 92.681
ISBN# 4 022143 926814
The Quartetto Di Cremona Offical Website
Works by James Grant
William Helmer, clarinet
Wayne Wildman, piano
Philomusic Quartet
PM 1028
ISBN# 6 70541 35950 1
Composer James Grant's Official Website
Anderson & Roe Duo
Greg Anderson, piano
Elizabeth Joy Roe, piano
Steinway & Sons 30022
ISBN# 0 34062 30022 8
The Anderson & Roe Piano Duo Official Website

Our thanks again to S.U. practicum Jennifer Reeves, who has pulled together the pictures and information to make your search for new releases easier.
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, March 7, 2014

Our March After-the-News-at-Noon series.

This month, after the news at noon, our series is: 
Mozart in His Own Words.
We're pairing quotes from the letters and notes of Mozart with historical information on the musicians he mentions, and musical selections referred to in the quotes. 

Our resource for the quotes is a marvelous book first published in 1926 - featuring researched selected quotes from Mozart's letters.   We have augmented this primary resource with biographical information from a variety of on-line music history sources.  The book is divided into sections by topic.  Among other things it is fascinating to discover that Mozart was quite a prude in matters regarding marriage, family, morals and ethics.   This revelation is quite at odds with the popular presentation (due largely to the play Amadeus) of Mozart as a rough-housing gad-about flippant playboy.

The Man and the Artist Revealed
In His Own Words
Compiled and annotated by
Friedrich Kerst
Translated and edited by
Henry Krehbiel

Dover Press 1965
1st Published by Geoffry Bles, London 1926

for more information and to purchase book

For anyone interested in a glimpse of the inner workings of the genius, his thoughts on other musicians of his day (including his jealousies, rivalries and admirations), and a good deal of his personal judgements on social and political issues - it's a juicy, salacious read, like reading a diary.  This is a very slim volume, light reading for one or two bedtimes.

From the standpoint of a musician practicing his works, there is not much here to give you insights into how he wants his music played, except for one or two comments about, say, pace of a minuet; but there is just enough here to be contradictory, and in these instances, the commentary by the translator seems to infer the opposite meaning from the translation.  So while there is no particular revelation about musical interpretation, what we do have here is a varied array over time of the thoughts of the man... and knowing his tastes can help a good musician get inside his thought process, and that is good for musical color, which helps any performance.

This is a book that has been sitting on our WSCL library shelf for many years, and I had overlooked it for quite a while.  It is one that I will definitely revisit again over time when this series is over, and definitely worth a read for anyone who just can't get enough Mozart!

Thanks again to our S.U. practicum, Jennifer Reeves who was my research assistant on this series, sorting out the more interesting and revealing (or amusing) writings from the less interesting, and compiling them for use.
Kara Dahl Russell

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Just Opened - March 7, 2014

We have an eclectic mix of new releases today on JUST OPENED, including a CD sampler of the accomplished work of members of the Worcester Chamber Music Society.   Last summer I attended their summer camp (one of the few music camps open to adults as well as children).   They are taking applications now for both of their week-long summer camp sessions.

Worcester Chamber Music Society
ISBN #8 45121 04640 3
Very invested in keeping great music as an active, integrated and inspiring part of the community, the razor-sharp focus of the WCMS on the communicative process of chamber music is informative and influential for musicians of any age.  Their summer camp sessions include intensive music sessions, choir, and evening performances through the week by their highly credentialed and acclaimed faculty.

Kate Prestia-Schaub, Piccolo
Marin Kennedy, piano
ISBN# 8 84502 95273 6
Kate Prestia-Schaub's Official Website
This is a CD of recital works for piccolo + one (piano), and solo works, almost all new works by living composers.  Prestia-Schaub is passionate about expanding the repertoire for piccolo, and, having won many awards, she is placed perfectly to do so.   She also receives rave reviews as a supportive and inspiring teacher.

Valerie Milot, harp
Les Violons Du Roy, chamber orchestra
Claire Marchand, flute
AN 29990
ISBN# 7 74204 99902 5
Valerie Milot's Official Website
Milot is the new "it girl" of the harp, having won many coveted awards, and indeed, having the opportunity to record these historic works with the renowned "Les Violons Du Roy" could be said to be another coverted award in itself.  Either through the recording process, or through choice of instrument, the sound of the harp on these works has a very crisp, crystalline sound that is very much like the sound of the historic single action harps that would have premiered these works.  This sound fits perfectly with the historically accurate approach of this orchestra, but some modern ears may find this tonality a bit thin for their taste.   Only a very few, highly favored harpists get to record this "big 3" of harp works... to have them all on one CD is a treat.   The extremely well-known concertos by Handel and Mozart, with a personal favorite of mine - the one by Boieldieu. (My only quibble here is actually in this concerto; the harp entrance is delayed quite a bit, and then begins with an extended trill - a diva's entrance.  In hearing many performances, this extended trill is most effective when it is extended... the effect of a breathless hush falling on the room that seems to hover like a puff of infinity.  Here the trill is kept in stricter time, which lessens the magic of the entrance - makes it a little less... trilling.)  Many people say they "love harp music" but don't know where to start.  This is an excellent starter kit for those who like an orchestral sound. 

3 CD set
Andrew Rangell, piano
Steinway & Sons 30024
ISBN# 0 34062 30024 2
More Information on Andrew Rangell
Now a "Steinway Artist", Rangell continues to perform on multiple labels, and while his focus has largely been on traditional works, he spices things up with off-beat composer choices, too, and he is simply, uniformly magnificent.  My delight of the week, this is another great gift idea.  In this case, the traditional works played on a modern instrument, which makes the works very accessible to the modern ear. 

Westwood Wind Quintet
Crystal Records CD759
ISBN# 0 09414 77592 4
For More Information on the Westwood Wind Quintet
Modern works for winds.  Most of these new works take the fun, laughter-filled wind music of the early 1900s into a realm of today's dissonance and deconstruction that makes them pretty inaccessible for the average listener.  I'd say this one is either for wind players who are game to explore the adventure on their own instrument, and those who really enjoy a musical challenge.

Anna Williams, violin
Mikhail Veselov, cello
Toni James, piano
Neave Trio
ISBN # 6 40236 95012 2
The Neave Trio's Official Website
This CD contains a contrast of 2 major modern piano trios, by Faure and Shostakovitch.  Shoxtakovitch chamber works seem to be enjoing a particular heyday right now, despite being less melodic and more academic than many other works.  The Faure is very accessible, of course, and sparkles.

Thanks again to Jessica Reeves, our SU practicum who has helped to pull together photos and info. for the blog basics.  Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell


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